NORMAN — All-American slugger Lauren Chamberlain may play tonight. Or she may not. As Oklahoma prepares to open the NCAA regional at 7:30 p.m. against first-time competitor Bryant, Sooners coach Patty Gasso isn’t sure if Chamberlain will be able to effectively play with a partially torn PCL.
But Gasso is sure of one thing: The Sooners will be prepared to play, regardless.
“Everybody is prepared,” she said. “There’s no one player who’s bigger than the program. This team, they’re fighters, and they can pick it up.”
With Kady Self out for the season with a torn ACL and now Chamberlain possibly joining her on the sidelines, just how will the newly named Big 12 Coach of the Year fill the hole in the lineup?
“I don’t even know right now,” she said at Thursday’s regional media day. “There are a lot of options. It’s really a matchup of who fits the pitcher that we’re facing best, who maybe hits a drop ball better, who hits a changeup better. So we’re not quite sure where we would go with that yet; we’ll deal with it. We’re prepared for it.”
The Sooners have played just one game since Chamberlain went down for the second time this season when she injured the knee sliding into second base against Oklahoma State last weekend. In Sunday’s regular-season finale, Gasso moved Brittany Williams, usually the team’s right-fielder, to first base while playing Javen Henson at second, Callie Parsons in right and Paris Townsend and Erin Miller in left.
However the roster shakes out, Gasso is confident the Sooners will be ready to play as they begin their postseason run in defense of last year’s national title. For OU (45-10), that begins with tonight’s contest against Bryant (32-20) and would also send the Sooners through either Hofstra (33-13) or Texas A&M (35-20).